Italy

Waiting for the Summer

Veneto’s fears of an exodus away from its tourist resorts

Italy’s Veneto region is the country’s most popular tourist destination, and the sixth most popular in Europe. It generates revenues of around 18 billion euros a year through direct and indirect services. There are, in fact, thousands of businesses in the region involved in tourism, producing 11.5% of the revenues of Veneto’s service sector and 14.3% of its entire production (source: Veneto regional administration-Tourism industry analysis). Every year around 32 million visitors head to the region to enjoy its beaches and the variety and quality of the services it offers.

The restrictions resulting from the Covid-19 emergency have had a huge impact on the tourism sector, pushing businesses into crisis, many of which only open for the tourist season. The greatest uncertainty derives from the complete lack of directives that could allow even a partial reopening. Unionmare Veneto, the main trade association responsible for the protection and development of beach tourism in the Veneto Region, has begun the maintenance and preparation of the beaches for the summer season, installing beach huts, walkways and beach umbrellas.

Due to the lack of precise official directives relating to safety and precautionary measures, the association has had to improvise its actions based on common sense. The same goes for beach clubs, bars, restaurants, clothes shops and hotels that want to reopen. The regulations concerning sanitisation, respect for distances, and the eventual arrival of customers remain parameters that are still unknown, however, these will form the starting point for recovery in a season that has already been heavily compromised by the health emergency. The spring months, a primary source of revenue for the restaurant sector, have already been written off due to the total shutdown and consequently thousands of jobs have vanished.

A large number of tourists arrive from abroad each year, in particular, from Germany. This year German tourists are shifting their attention towards Croatia, the government of which is negotiating the opening of a preferential corridor premised on the fact that both countries have experienced relatively low levels of Covid-19. If this should come into being, the losses for Veneto would be enormous. It is estimated that the region would miss out on 13 of 18 billion euros in revenues.

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